Autumn movies are usually a bit more ambitious and serious than the films Hollywood gives us during the summer. Two of the most ambitious to come out so far are WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS and THE TOWN.
THE TOWN is a solid Hollywood entertainment about a bank robber who falls in love with a bank manager who doesn't realize that he was part of the gang who robbed her bank. I know that sound far fetched, but the movie manages to make it believable.
Ben Affleck directs and stars in a rousing story that effectively combines interesting characters with exciting action.
His own character is a brilliant planner for a gang of thieves in Boston.
Rebecca Hall is the bank manager he encounters during a heist. He sees something in her that's way more compelling that the neighborhood woman he's been sleeping with.
But Affleck's buddies, especially Jeremy Renner, as a violent hothead, are completely opposed to their leader's romance, and that conflict drives this smart, exciting movie to some pretty intense extremes.
Happily, Affleck is a skillful writer and director as well as a fine actor, and the rest of the cast including John Hamm of TV's "Mad Men" are top notch as well.
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, a sequel to the famous 1987 movie, is more ambitious than THE TOWN but not as satisfying.
Writer-director Oliver Stone is a brilliant filmmaker but he's not nearly so good as a script writer.
His flashy, creative visuals and smooth editing are a pleasure to watch, and he's not afraid to tackle big subjects like the meltdown of American banks in 2008.
But his writing is too often clever and glib instead of honest and illuminating. And he just tries to do too much.
There are patches of brilliance, and the actors are pitch perfect; but overall WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS is a disappointment.